An extensive report detailing steps to dismantle institutional anti-Black racism in Los Angeles was released on August 19. Authored by The Committee for Greater L.A. (CGLA), the document contains recommendations in seven critical areas that are priorities for African Americans.
“The Path to Justice Runs through Equity: Ending Anti-Black Racism in Los Angeles” outlines specific actions to create equitable systems in economics and poverty relief, housing and homelessness, education and youth development, mass incarceration and police violence, physical health and mental wellbeing, environmentally safe and healthy neighborhoods, and advocacy and political power.
CGLA, which is comprised of business, philanthropy, labor, government, and other community influencers, prepared the report at the request of the Black Experience Action Team (BEAT), a group of 35 leaders committed to improving the present and future circumstances of African Americans in L.A.
April Verrett, president of SEIU Local 2015 and BEAT chair; Miguel Santana, president/CEO of the Weingardt Foundation and CGLA chair; and Dr. Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, chair of USC’s Political Science and International Relations Department and academic lead for the group, recently met with local media to explain the significance of the report.
“It was critical to us that this effort delve deeply into many of our community’s aspirations and needs. It was particularly important to ensure we attended to the vast diversity in our community. Across the seven major issues we cover, you will see specific ideas that address the needs of our LGBTQIA and gender-non-conforming family members, our immigrantfamily members and our family members with intellectual and physical disabilities,” said Verrett.
“The report is really about how do we actually get to a Los Angeles that is free of anti-Black racism. Also, we really wanted to make sure that our report wasn’t just a report that was going to sit on the shelf, but this is actually concete, practical steps we could take to actually get to a Los Angeles free of anti-Black racism,” added Hancock Alfaro.
“The report proposes city-wide policies that can have an impact on multiple issues facing our communities. We believe designing systems around the priorities of Black folks will create more equitable systems for all.”
Cited in the report are recommendations for citywide policy shifts in the areas of universal basic income, anti-discrimination policy enforcement, culturally competent care and services, closing the racial wealth gap and robust datacollection and cross-sector analysis.
The report’s premise is based on a 10-year vision that would yield results in 25 years. For example, today’s five-year-old child would enjoy a transformed existence in Los Angeles by the time he or she reaches the age of 30.
Another aspect the report espouses is the use of communal accountability metrics for each of the seven areas. As Hancock Alfaro explained, “We’ve got indicators [that
] we can hold elected officials accountable for, we can hold nonprofits accountable for, and we can hold philantrophy and corporate sectors accountable for. This is also where we look to see are we making progress on education or housing or economics and poverty relief.”
“Addressing anti-Black racism will require a long-term commitment and investment from those in power and from all ofus as community members and stakeholders,” Santana said. “This report holds a mirror up to L.A. County, identifies areas for self- improvement, and provides us with a roadmap for implementation. The time of inaction is over. No moreexcuses.”
Hancock Alfaro also underscored the main advantage of instituting the report’s strategies, highlighting that when African Americans do well, so do other ethnicities.
“One of the things that April [Verrett] said a lot in our meetings is when you fix what goes on in terms of anti-Black racism in Los Angeles, you are going to fix so many systems that will end up working for all kinds of people. That’s an important aspect of why this report should be taken seriously,” she related.
“If the schools get good for Black kids, there’re going to get good for Latinx kids, White kids, and Asian American kids. When we fix these systems everybody in Los Angeles benefits.”
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